L&L Drive-Inn is kicking off a six-week T-shirt promotion.
Word of mouth 2.0 spreads among agencies
A new unit of Honolulu-based Milici Valenti Ng Pack Advertising Inc.
has been riding the online word-of-mouth bandwagon, albeit quietly, since earlier this summer.
"It is kind of a step into that, because in social marketing, everybody has a voice," said Nick Ng Pack, agency president and chief executive officer.
Emmalani LLC was formed to operate vhibe Word of Mouth Marketing, which one might liken to a virtual focus group.
"I guess you could say that," Ng Pack said.
Its first dip into the ethereal word-of-mouth online ocean was to gather input on McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich.
Registrants got coupons to sample the sammies free and provide feedback.
"We were confident that people would love it," Ng Pack said. They did.
Ng Pack is emphatic, however, that vhibe is not just a testing ground for Milici's clients and that it will not sanitize negative feedback.
"The best referrals are personal referrals," he said. If feedback is negative, a company might want to use it to improve customer experiences.
The site "has to be independent, because you have to be able to talk about what's bad or good."
The site joins the blogosphere, microblogging sites like Twitter.com and recently, hawaii.womf.com as a Web 2.0 spot where a single consumer can stand and be counted.
Word of bumper
Everything old is new again eventually, so it was just a matter of time before "I (heart)" T-shirts came back.
L&L Drive-Inn kicks off a six-month "I Love L&L" promotion this week in Hawaii and on the mainland, where the chain is called L&L Hawaiian Barbecue.
At 10 a.m. Thursday the Iwilei store will give away 500 "I (heart) L&L" shirts to people who affix on their vehicles a bumper sticker bearing the same sentiment.
Sticker-affixing shirt-winners wearing the garb during certain weeks will get discounted grub or free stuff.
"The T-shirt has been a big hit in the mainland," said Eddie Flores, co-founder.
He wore one to an industry show in Los Angeles and "I was stopped by someone asking about my shirt almost every 10 to 15 minutes."
It had magic powers for an L&L franchisee who "wore the shirt in a nightclub and he was approached by three different girls."
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org